UPDATE: An extraordinarily generous donor has offered to match the next $5k of donations! Every dollar you put in will be matched by the same amount. So those of you waiting to deliver the killer blow and get me into the tutu now is your chance! We can get there twice as fast. This is an incredibly generous offer but you have to act now! Only the next $5k will be doubled!
There comes a time in every man’s (and woman’s) life where he/she could do with a telescope up their bum. On Friday that time came for me. You see most colon cancers start life as a polyp, sometimes taking 10-15 years to grow. Sometimes these polyps give clues that something is awry but in a few cases, like my poor old Mum, there don't and grow into a large mass without you knowing. There are various ways of trying to detect what is going on down there but the gold standard is a colonoscopy.
The procedure starts two days before when you begin a low fibre diet which is mostly rice bubbles and plain pasta. Then 24 hours before you stop all solid foods. After that you are only allowed to drink ‘clear fluid’. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds and in fact it was very pleasant to have a break from eating, I had no idea how much time and energy I put into drowning myself in calories. The point of all this is of course to start (ahem) ‘decluttering’ the colon.
The night before your procedure you then take a sachet of a mysterious substance called ‘Picoprep’, which tastes like electrocuted chalk - bitter, stale and slightly tangy. The instructions say to ‘…remain within an easy reach of toilet facilities’ but my iron constitution apparently was not fazed, the only indication of the battle raging below were strange hydraulic gurglings and rumblings. Eventually though unusual pressures could be felt and I was reminded of Billy Connolly’s advice to men over a certain age – ‘never trust a fart’. Although I went to bed normally at some point in the middle of the night I woke with the enemy at the gate, and not long after I was pink and shiny.
If you’re going through this yourself I recommend reading ‘Unbroken’ the riveting story of a starving POW suffering from dysentery which I found vividly sprang to life. I weighed myself before and after the proceedings and discovered that I had jettisoned over 2kgs - which happily means I’m usually only 3% shit.
At the clinic I was, along with the other inmates, given a knee length striped shirt, which led me to suggest that we all put on a nativity play. Before rehearsals could begin, however I was wheeled in to the telescoping room. The combination of anaesthetics puts you into a happy twilight, conscious but comfortable. So I only remember some judderings as they wrangled the slender tube through several feet of colon and being asked to hold my breath - to help steady my innards - while they snipped off a single benign polyp. All watched on the large flat screen tv.
Then it is done and you are wheeled away to have a pleasant sleep. Shortly after, while still in this happy obliging state, you are asked to pay the bill. If you are paying for this yourself, you will be lucky to get any change out of $2500. As a friend commented, ‘So you were shafted both literally AND figuratively then?’. Which is why we need a nationwide bowel cancer screening program, so donate to Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa now!
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I’m running the NY marathon on Nov 2, 2014 to help reduce the number of people who needlessly die of bowel cancer in NZ every year. As the total of donations to ‘Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa’ increases the more things from a ‘Hot Pink Hawaiian Fairy Princess’ outfit I will wear as I run. See the revised 'Menu of Mockery' below!
Go now to https://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/BeatBowelCancerNYC2014 and help turn the two million people who line the streets of this race into a howling, jeering 26 mile Tunnel of Ridicule - oh and help rid the world of bowel cancer!
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